29. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Vance)1


  • High Yield Nuclear Weapons

The President has noted the memorandum2 reporting the results of the Department of Defense and Atomic Energy Commission re-examination of the need for very high yield nuclear weapons, and concurs in the recommendation of the Department of Defense, in which the Atomic Energy Commission has concurred, that programs should not be initiated at this time for the development of a high yield warhead for our present missiles or high yield bomb for the B–52.

The President has also noted and concurred in the recommendation that the AEC be authorized to carry out certain ground and airborne operations to prepare itself to develop a three-month readiness posture to make tests in the atmosphere of high yield devices if such tests become necessary and are authorized. He has expressed his desire that such tests be conducted in so far as possible without any publicity.

McGeorge Bundy
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330 69 A 7425, A–471.61 (25 Jan 64). Top Secret; Restricted Data. Stamped notations indicate that Vance and Howard saw the memorandum. It is also reproduced in sanitized form in Seaborg, Journal, vol. 26, p. 245.
  2. See footnote 5, Document 28.